Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Marshalls February 2018 Newsletter

Colossians 3:12-14“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”

Dear Prayer Partner,

Thank you so much for your prayer support for our family and ministry.  We thank and praise God for you and for your ministry to us in prayer.  As you read this most recent newsletter, we humbly ask that you continue to uphold our family in prayer as we walk through some very difficult, yet necessary changes in our lives.

At the end of 2017, we were faced with a situation that has required us to return to the USA for a period of counseling and restoration.  This had been an unresolved issue that occurred prior to our departure to Argentina last April.  Unfortunately, due to the nature of the situation, we will be unable to return to Argentina as full-time missionaries with GMSA.  As you can imagine, this is a major change and transition for our family, as well as for all those in our mission family and supporting churches and individuals.  Although the future is unclear, our goal and focus right now is to humbly and obediently walk through the steps of counseling and restoration for our family.  We would ask that you please uphold us in prayer throughout this vital process in our journey.  If any of you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to email us at damarshall@gmsa.org.

And even though reading this newsletter might be discouraging, sad, or disheartening, we have so much to thank and praise God for.  The last time we wrote you all was back in November, which means that much has occurred since that time.  Here are a few highlights from the months of November and December:  the Chivilcoy basketball team ended their season in 2nd place overall, the Chivilcoy church voted and approved of a new national pastor to begin serving in May 2018, the Christmas cantata was a great success (drama, choir music, and Gospel presentation), several new faces have been attending the Chivilcoy church, the camp pool project began and is near full completion, and Allison’s brother (Chad) came and visited for a week.  All of these ‘highlights’ were a blessing to us and were a testimony of God’s hand at work through us and around us.  It was also special to witness the Argentine celebrations for Christmas and New Year, which consisted of family/extended family time, lots of fireworks, and some pretty good food!  As many of you probably understand from experience, the New Year celebration reminded us of God’s faithfulness and of His blessings to us throughout the past year.  Every year is filled with a wide range of emotions that come from all types of circumstances, and it is often difficult to recognize God’s involvement and His plan during the day-to-day living, but sometimes it does us a lot of good (spiritually) to look back and recognize the power and faithfulness of God, which helped us get to where we are today.  As a reminder to each of us (especially in times of discouragement), we have a living Hope, One that never leaves us, that never fails us, that never gives up on us, and that always loves us.  May God be your Hope throughout this year 2018, and may He have your whole heart!

In January, we celebrated Eliana’s 1st birthday with our church family in Chivilcoy. It was a huge blessing to our family to celebrate with so many that love Eliana. We then scheduled and determined a departure date to leave Argentina and return to Pennsylvania.  During the first two weeks of the new year, we spent every available minute packing our belongings, talking with our Argentine friends, and preparing to make this transition back to the USA.  Then, on January 16th, our family left Argentina and arrived back home in PA.  We praise God for the smooth transition of luggage, the safety of our arrival, and the love and support of our families and friends here in PA.  Since then, we have been under the excellent care of our home and supporting church, High Point Baptist Chapel, and are extremely thankful for their love and prayer support.  Again, we humbly ask that you remember us in your prayers, that we would seek and find wisdom, submit to godly counsel, discover God’s future plan for us, and trust in God each day.

Thank you all for your constant prayers.  We appreciate each of you for interceding on our behalf, and for aiding your brother and sister in Christ through this difficult time.  Thank you, and may God bless each of you and your families!

In Christ,
Dathan, Allison, and Eliana Marshall

Eliana's 1st birthday party with Tom, Debbie, and Danny Gibbons. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Marshalls October Newsletter 2017

Joel 3:10b – “… let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’”
The apostle Paul writes to the church in Corinth in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, where he says, “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  There is a truth here that is very difficult to accept and obey.  In order for you and I to be strong, to be successful, to be called ‘great’, we must first become weak.  It is like an athlete who first submits themselves to the difficult, rigorous training of their body (being made weak), before they compete in their perspective sports with a durable, well-trained body (then made strong).  Only, Paul is referring here to an inward humility, a change of heart and perspective, a recognition of one’s weaknesses and inabilities.  After all, are we really strong at all?  Just take one look around at humanity (especially in comparison to all of creation) and you’ll quickly see how weak, how fragile, how foolish, and how incapable we truly are.  Do you want to know how to become strong?  The answer is not to first begin an exercise program, or eat healthier, or anything physical, emotional, or social.  We must first ‘take pleasure’ in our weaknesses, which means to ‘think good about’ or ‘to be well-pleased with’.  You and I (whether we admit it or not) are weak, and often times, our weaknesses are made quite evident by the struggles of life.  But, Paul is boasting about his weaknesses, because the strength of the Lord, the power of God, is revealed and made known through weakness.  You see, when we are without strength and are in the middle of a ‘difficult training exercise’ in life, God provides us with His strength and power to overcome, which would bring praise to the only One who deserves it.  Identify your weaknesses.  Take pleasure in them.  Rely on God’s strength and grace (v. 9).  Give praise to God for what He has done.  Then, as Joel 3:10 says, “… let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’”

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you.  Thank you for your prayers, for your support, for your encouragement, and for your testimony for Jesus Christ!  We thank God for each of you, and for your faithful and generous part in our ministry.  As you read through our newsletter, we hope you are truly encouraged and uplifted by what God has been doing through our lives, and we would ask you to please continue praying for our family, our ministry in Argentina, and these other prayer requests:

Please pray for…
  • Our Ministries:  our primary church ministries are teaching on Thursday evenings and leading the college/career group on Saturday evenings.  Please pray for spiritual growth for these young adults, and for wisdom and effectiveness in teaching God’s Word.
  • Our Health:  just like all believers, we are in the middle of a spiritual war against sin.  Please pray for both our spiritual and physical health, that they would not impede or interrupt our service for God and the responsibilities we have here in Argentina.
  • Our Future:  our goal is to plant a new church in the city of Bragado (about 30 miles SW from here in Chivilcoy) in the near future.  Please keep us in prayer in regards to the wisdom, patience, strength, and teammates we need to do this, as well as trying to find an apartment or house to begin living there.
Praise God for…
  • His Strength:  after being here for 6 months so far and enjoying seeing God accomplish many great works during that time, we believe it is necessary to give God the praise for what He has done, and for what we believe He can and will do in the future by His strength in our weaknesses.
  • His Work:  God has given us clear direction about choosing to go to the city of Bragado, God has helped us (all 3 of us) to receive our temporary DNI (last step before permanent residency!), and God continues to open doors for us to share the Gospel with many people.

The months of August and September, which are the last months of winter here in Argentina (unfortunately, no snow), were highlighted with a young adults conference in Uruguay, Dathan’s parents visited us for 10 days (probably more accurate to call them ‘Eliana’s grandparents’ haha), and Eliana has been growing up way too fast.  Speaking of Eliana, our little, 9-month old daughter is now crawling all over the place, loves to ‘talk’ and make noises, has a contagious smile and laugh, and is eating lots of new foods (getting well prepared for her first Argentine asado haha).  Her physical health has been very good and stable, which is a wonderful blessing, especially considering her bad case of acid reflux in her first 4 months.  We are so thankful for her and are so blessed to be parents of God’s special gift to us!

In the last two weeks of August, we had the privilege of spending time with Dathan’s parents, who traveled from Pennsylvania to visit with us and serve in our ministries here in Chivilcoy.  During their visit, both parents willingly sought opportunities to serve in the church and camp, such as:  playing the piano for Sunday worship, preaching on Thursday evening, and working at camp (poured the concrete for the bathroom floors in the second cabin building).  Not only were they a huge blessing to the ministries here, but they also spoiled us, especially their granddaughter Eliana!  We had the opportunity to travel for a day to Buenos Aires, to enjoy 2 asado meals (Dathan prepared and grilled his first asado for a meal with the Marshalls and Gibbons families, and we enjoyed another amazing asado with Julian and Nancy Vita, one of the families in our church).  Aside from some fun tourism and delicious meals, we really enjoyed the time spent together playing games, walking (and running) around Chivilcoy, and serving in ministry.  Mom and Dad, we love you and thank you for investing time to come visit and serve in Argentina, to encourage your kids, and to pour your life and energy into our daughter Eliana.

In the middle of September, we were invited to serve and speak at a young adults conference at a Bible camp in Paysandú, Uruguay.  It was a 3-day conference, with about 30 young adults (4 from our church in Chivilcoy), and was a huge blessing for us to be part of.  Dathan had the opportunity to preach three times, and the both of us really enjoyed meeting new people, playing soccer and games, and learning more from God’s Word.  Also, we had the privilege of staying with Jonny and Estefania, who have a 1-year old daughter (Keren).  Eliana and Keren became good friends during our stay, and loved playing and interacting with each other.  We truly appreciated the friends and relationships that were established during the short conference, and we look forward to building upon those friendships as we serve together here in southern South America.

October has been an extra busy month, with a Pastors Conference, Ladies Retreat, and work teams that have come from the USA to help work at the camp.  In the first week of October, about 90 ministry leaders came to the camp in Chivilcoy from Chile, Uruguay, and other parts of Argentina, for a 3-day Pastor’s Conference.  What a blessing it was to meet so many faithful, hard-working men who have devoted their lives to full-time ministry!  It was an incredible experience to spend time with these men, as we studied God’s Word and worshipped together, enjoyed encouraging fellowship, suffered through eating some ridiculously good meals, and of course, played soccer.  Just this past week, the camp also held it’s first ever Ladies Retreat, where about 80 women gathered (from churches in Argentina) and enjoyed time of fellowship, worship, and studying God’s Word.  For Allison, it was encouraging to meet other ladies in ministry, and to not only make friends and build relationships, but to also be strengthened and challenged in her own spiritual life and ministry.  In between these two big events, a work team from the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey came down to help prepare the camp property for the Ladies Retreat, and ultimately, for summer camp in February 2018.  Pastor Bill Park and his wife, Betty Jean, led this group, which included two others (Herman and Heidi).  In their short, yet productive time here, they were able to clean all of the buildings, cut all the grass of the 25-acre property, and make big advancements on the 2nd cabin building.  We are very thankful for their ministry to us here in Chivilcoy, and we always look forward to seeing them again and spending time with them (they organize work teams annually).

Lastly, Dathan was finally approved to play in his basketball league in the Local games, yet still has to wait for further paperwork to play in the Provincial level.  Having played in two games so far, there is already a big difference in the interest, acceptance, and curiosity of why we are here and what we believe in.  We praise God for these open doors to share the truth of God’s Word and about Jesus Christ, which stands out above any other religion or other belief.  With Allison practicing and engaging with her volleyball team on a weekly basis, and with Dathan practicing and playing games with his basketball team, God is using this ‘common interest’ with those in the world, to be able to reach them with the Gospel.  It is our prayer that these opportunities would not only change individual lives, but also supplement the growth of the local church.

Again, we would like to say a big ‘thank you’ for your prayers and support!  Just as God is working and producing fruit here in Argentina, we hope and pray that His work is being accomplished where you are as well.  Despite our physical distance from you, as the body of Christ, we have been brought together by the same reason (grace) by and for the same person (God) to accomplish the same mission (glorify Him).  Romans 11:36 – “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”  May God bless you as you serve Him with your whole heart!

In Christ,
Dathan, Allison, and Eliana Marshall

Eliana taking a ride on the streets of Chivilcoy, Argentina

Eliana playing with her friends at the Youth Retreat

Mommy and Eliana ready for church

Chorizo (sausage) for Pastor's Conference

Herman Moon from Twin Valley Bible Chapel with Eliana

Eliana is enjoying the beautiful Spring weather

Picture of the group of young adults at the Youth Retreat in Paysandú, Uruguay

We made some good friends at the Paysandú camp

Our group from Chivilcoy that went to Youth Retreat

Pastor's Conference 2017 (pastors from Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina - host country)

Eliana with Chicha, one of the ladies from our church

Women's Retreat in Argentina (these are the ladies from Chivilcoy church)

Dathan's 3rd basketball game with Club Colón (1st round of playoffs)

Ken and Debbie Marshall (Dathan's parents) with us in Buenos Aires

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Marshalls July 2017 Newsletter

Exodus 19:5 – “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.”

Just as God had delivered the nation of Israel from their slavery in Egypt, He has delivered us from our slavery to sin, if we trust in Jesus Christ for salvation.  Those who are truly saved, let me encourage you that your salvation (and gift of eternal life) comes from an eternal, loving Father, who promises to hold you firm and help you persevere to the end, which means you can NOT lose your salvation.  In the meantime, you and I have a major responsibility, which is to simply obey God and His Word, and to ‘move on’ from a past life of slavery to sin (please read Romans 6).  We have now entered into a life WITH God, as His children and not His enemies, so therefore we ought to willingly follow and obey what He says in His Word.  Remember the children’s song which says, “Obedience is, the very best way, to show that you believe…”?  Well, as a believer you will always have two options every time… will you choose to obey God or to disobey Him?  Jesus himself said in Luke 11:28 – “But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep/obey it!”  Just like Jesus, let us all make the effort to choose to obey God first, even when it may cost us everything.

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you everyone for your constant prayers and support for our family and ministry here in Argentina!  We thank God for the joy and encouragement we have received from you all, as it has helped strengthen us through the many changes we have experienced these past months.  Please continue to pray, not only for us and our family and ministry, but also for the spiritual work to be accomplished here in Chivilcoy, Argentina.  Thank you!  

Praise God for…
  • His Answers to Prayer:  two weeks ago, we received our ‘precaria’ document, which is a temporary residency status.  Praise God for this answered prayer, which keeps us from leaving the country every 90 days!
  • His Provision:  it is such a blessing to now own a vehicle here in Argentina.  After purchasing it about 1 month ago, we have been able to visit nearby cities, attend conferences/camps, and travel to Buenos Aires.
  • His Work:  praise God for the opportunity to lead and teach the college/career group at the church in Chivilcoy.  Both of us are also thankful for the opportunities we have had to meet several people and talk to them about Jesus Christ in the past 2 months.
Please pray for…
  • Our Ministry:  for wisdom, strength, and success in our preaching ministries (Thursday nights) and discipleship/teaching ministries (Saturday nights).
  • Our Health:  for the health and growth of our daughter Eliana (7 months old); for physical strength and protection in our daily ministries.
  • Our Future Plans:  for direction in choosing a church plant location (Chacabuco or Bragado); for team members to work alongside us in planting a church (potentially 3-5 people already committed).
In the month of June, we began to establish a more concrete schedule of life and ministry here in Argentina.  One of Dathan’s primary responsibilities in the Chivilcoy church is to preach in Spanish every Thursday evening at the prayer meeting.  We thank God for this opportunity to not only progress in the Spanish language, but to also serve and minister to others with the Word of God!  The both of us have really enjoyed leading the ‘college and career’ ministry (18-30 years old) on Saturday evenings, which has helped us connect with the people here and has given us many opportunities to teach, counsel, and encourage these young people.  Apart from these church ministries, we have made many friends and have established lots of relationships here in Chivilcoy with people we pass by on the streets, those in stores and markets, and with those we practice with in our perspective volleyball and basketball leagues.  It has been so exciting to see God speak through us with these individual people, who so desperately need salvation and to enter into a relationship with God.  Please be praying for these people and their spiritual lives, that God would give us His words to speak as we meet with them throughout each week.

One big answer to prayer from the past two months is that after having received and organized all of our translated documents and paperwork, we made a trip to Immigrations in Buenos Aires, where we praise God that we left the office with our ‘precaria’ documents (for all three of us), which is a temporary residency status here in Argentina.  Although it has been a slow, detailed process (which could easily take much longer), we are grateful to God to have completed this step in our pursuit of permanent residency in Argentina!  We also are thankful for the time we spent with fellow GMSA missionaries in the city of Gualeguaychú, for a time of edification, growth in friendships, and prayer.  It is always necessary for believers to develop unity and a sincere bond with one another, so that Christ would be made known and that His name would be glorified through each one of us!  For us, we count it a privilege to not only serve under the King of kings, but to also serve with other believers.  We are not alone in serving God, nor were we ever meant to work alone.

The month of July flew by, as it was filled with lots of exciting events and opportunities.  We enjoyed the opportunity to serve here with two other young ladies, Katie and Rebecca, who had come for a two-month missions trip to help serve in the local church here in Chivilcoy.  They were such a blessing to the people and such a help in various ministries, and we thank God for sending them to minister to the people here.  Also, during the month of July we were able to celebrate two Independence days:  July 4th (United States) and July 9th (Argentina).  It has been great to take part in each country’s traditional celebrations and to learn more about the history and background of the perspective countries.  Lastly, we wanted to give you all an update on our 7-month old daughter, Eliana:  she is growing up so fast, she is very close to crawling, she loves playing with her toys with mommy and daddy, she is eating baby food now, she always loves being outside, she is full of energy, and has a contagious, bright smile!  We love her so much, and we thank God for her health improvements and physical growth.

As always, we thank God for each one of you for your prayers and support!  As a team who serves the same and only living God, we look forward to the next couple of months to see what else God will do through each part of this ministry, which includes your prayers and support.  May God bless you and your families, and may He be the King of your life!

In Christ,
Dathan, Allison, and Eliana Marshall

The volleyball team at Club Independiente that Allison practices with.

GMSA missionaries in Argentina meeting

College and career group from Chivilcoy church

Dinner with family from church... empanadas.

Family visit to city of Bragado

Visit to Buenos Aires with Tom and Debbie (middle), and Katie and Rebecca (on right)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Marshalls May 2017 Newsletter

Psalm 121:1-2 – “I will lift up my eyes to the hills- from whence comes my help?  
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

The purpose for writing this devotional is two-fold:  to proclaim truth about God, and to encourage you with that truth.  One of the attributes of God is that He is our ‘Helper’.  In the book of Psalms, David often referred to God as his ‘Helper’, using the Hebrew word that described a military help or a ‘call for aid in time of need’, something that David experienced on many occasions in his life.  The simple truth here is that God is my Helper, my Aid, my Strength!  And as if that truth doesn’t quite sink in deep enough, Psalm 121:2 adds that He is the One ‘who made heaven and earth.’  God, the Creator, is your Help, and He will be there to strengthen you and help you in whatever situation you are in!  Now, many of you who are reading this may not feel like you need help right now, and I’m sure there are some who are truly desperate for help, but in either case, the simple knowledge of God being our Help will transform our perspectives, create a dependence on Him, and strengthen us through those difficult situations in life.  Just read the stories of these Bible examples:  Joshua (Joshua 8:1-35), Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3:1-18), Gideon (Judges 7:1-25), etc.  You are in the hands of God, you are subject to His promises (that never fail), you are loved and cared for by God, you belong to Him, and you must depend on Him!  Listen, there is no one more reliable than God!  So, as you encounter life’s difficulties and desperately need help and assistance, look not to the right or to the left, look not to your own self, but look up to the mountains to see the Creator, because He promises to be your Helper!

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for your faithful prayers and support!  It has now been slightly over one month that we have been living in Argentina, and you all have been a huge part in helping us get to this point.  We praise God for each of you, not only for the unity we have and enjoy as believers, but also for the blessing you have been to us throughout our missionary journey, primarily through your prayers, encouragement, and financial support!  As you read this newsletter, we hope that you are spiritually encouraged and motivated to follow after Jesus Christ with your life, wherever God has you and whatever situation you might find yourself in.

Praise God for…

     • His Strength:  we praise God for giving us the strength to make this big transition to life in Argentina.  Although it has often times been difficult and uncomfortable, God continues to give us encouragement and strength when we need it the most.

     • His Answered Prayers:  we praise God for the improved health in our daughter Eliana, for the smooth and safe arrival into Argentina, and for the ministry opportunities we are already involved in.

Please pray for…

     • Our Paperwork:  we would appreciate your prayers for the next and final step of our paperwork process, in order to obtain our ‘DNI’ cards, or permanent residency.  We will be taking all of our documents to Immigrations soon, so please pray that this appointment will go smoothly and we would receive the approval of all documents.

     • Our Ministries:  please continue praying for our ministry opportunities here, primarily that people would respond in their hearts to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.  For our sports ministries (basketball, volleyball, etc), preaching at church, Bible studies, and physical work in the camp and church properties.

The month of April was one of the quickest months of our lives.  From our last-minute church visits, packing and organizing our belongings, and spending every possible ‘free time’ with family and friends, the word ‘time’ simply vanished away.  During the first three weeks of April, we did however have the opportunity to visit Faith Baptist Church of Sellersville, PA, where we had the opportunity to share about our ministry to Argentina and become better acquainted with the church family.  We very much appreciated the love and support that we received from such a beautiful church family!  It was also a blessing for us to spend our last two Sundays (in the USA) at our home church, High Point Baptist Chapel.  Many people do not realize the impact they had on our lives, especially as we neared our departure date for Argentina.  We would like to say a special ‘thank you’ to our home church family, for their hospitality and care for us, for their prayers and support, for the many wonderful friendships we enjoy with them, and for their Godly testimony and example in our lives.  Honestly, we love and miss you all, and look forward to the next time we get to see you.

After three rigorous weeks of organizing, packing, and cleaning, our departure date quickly arrived.  On April 24th, we flew out of JFK airport to Buenos Aires, where we arrived safely the following morning.  It was a long, emotional, exhausting trip, but we praise God for giving us the strength through it all.  Our little family of three, along with our 25 totes and suitcases, successfully made it through airport customs and were warmly welcomed into Argentina by one of our co-workers, Tom Gibbons.  After a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the airport, we finally arrived at the Gibbons’ home, where we are currently residing (in a small apartment connected to their house), in the city of Chivilcoy.  It has been quite the adjustment living here, especially concerning the daily lifestyle and language differences.  Yet, although these have been good challenges for us, we have truly enjoyed integrating ourselves into the Argentine culture, into the church family here, and into the constant use of Spanish.  We praise God for the training we have received prior to our arrival, for Tom and Debbie Gibbons (our mentors and co-missionaries here in Chivilcoy), and for all of your prayers on our behalf.

In the month of May, we have primarily spent most of our time adjusting to the new cultural lifestyle, preparing Spanish messages to preach (Dathan's job), working on our documents for our permanent residency, and slowly getting more involved with various activities here in the community and church.  Allison has been attending a semi-weekly women’s Bible study at church, which has been a huge encouragement to her, both spiritually and in growing in the language.  Apart from spending most of her time as a Mommy to Eliana (well, I guess that’s all the time haha), she also loves to go on daily walks to the local food markets and to the plazas (parks) to strike up conversation with people, she enjoys her daily tutor hour to learn more Spanish, and she is always expanding her Argentine cooking recipes!  Dathan has had the opportunity to preach in Spanish on several occasions already at church, and has had the privilege of practicing basketball with one of the city’s semi-professional teams, in hopes to continue building relationships with people here in the city.  He also enjoys going on walks or bike rides, spending time conversing with some of the young men at church, and trying to perfect the art of grilling an ‘asado’ (Argentine barbecue).  The both of us truly have enjoyed getting to know the Argentine people and culture better, yet our hearts often times still miss ‘home’ in Pennsylvania.  But through all of these changes and challenges, we trust in the One who deserves our complete dependence, because He has a great plan for us, one that He will help us accomplish!

At the end of the month of May, our local church and camp here in Chivilcoy held a ‘Retiro de Hombres’ (Men’s Retreat), which was the first ever event held on the camp property.  It was not only exciting to have around 88 men in attendance, but it was also an incredible testimony to God’s faithfulness over years of building the camp.  The retreat included Bible teaching, great fellowship, soccer games, and some delicious meals.  We praise God for such a special weekend to spend with brothers in Christ, and for the opportunity to meet many more co-workers in Argentina!  Well, for those of you who are wondering about Eliana, she is doing very well.  Her doctor here has been awesome, her health has been improving greatly, her giggles have been contagious, her toes and hands have been chewed on (by herself), and she absolutely loves being outside and going on walks!  Thank you to all of you who have been praying for her.

We hope that you have gained a better understanding of what God has been doing in and through our lives here in Argentina.  It has been such a blessing to finally live in the country that God has put on our hearts to reach with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  Your prayers and support are very much appreciated, as we seek to continue building relationships, seek a new church plant location, and seek to proclaim God’s Word to the people.  May God bless each of you in your own lives and ministries, as you depend on Him for His help and His strength!

In Christ,
Dathan, Allison, and Eliana Marshall

'La Favorita de la Familia', aka the 'Family Favorite' (Eliana June Marshall)

Men's Retreat grilled food (sausage and chicken)

Men's Retreat Soccer Team

Delicious asado dinner with the Buhr family from church

Happy Mother's Day to Allison!

Chivilcoy Camp cabin and grill

Sergio (Missionary to Uruguay), James (camp director), Juan Claudio (Pastor in Buenos Aires), and me.

Photo taken of the streets of Chivilcoy

First attempt at grilling steaks in Argentina

Total group of 88 men at Men's Retreat

Incredible asado dinner, thanks to the Carbonari family from church

Baptism of Malco Carbonari this past Sunday (6/4)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Marshalls March 2017 Newsletter

Revelation 3:15-16
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I could wish you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.”

What is ‘lukewarm’ Christianity?  One simple definition for the term ‘lukewarm’ is someone who is neither hot or cold about their faith.  This term is used in Revelation 3:15-16 to describe those who call themselves ‘Christians’, yet though they give themselves that title, they are just drifting along in life, perhaps not investing much time with God at all (indifference), or attending church only when it is convenient, or maybe they have even lost a zeal or desire for spiritual growth.  Many people who call themselves ‘Christians’ claim to have faith in Jesus Christ, yet they do not (or only if convenient) study God’s Word, do not grow in their faith, do not live different than the world, do not passionately pursue doing what is right, etc.  The truth is that being ‘lukewarm’ is the most comfortable, most convenient, and the safest form of living in our own minds, which is why it takes a deeper faith to trust and follow Jesus Christ to a passionate and purpose-driven life for Him.  Have you reached a point of complacency and spiritual apathy in your life?  Are you struggling to follow and live for Jesus, which is vastly different than the world around us?  Here are 3 simple practices to help boost your Christian faith and ‘turn on the hot water’ in your life:  1. Daily pray, and study the Word of God (return and restore your relationship with God) 2. Directly impact someone’s life around you (put your heart and soul into others; you might learn something, too!) 3. Declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world around you (a true Christian desires to tell others about Jesus, no matter the cost and refusing to ‘blend in’ with the world).  Following these 3 simple steps will help you ‘get off the fence’ in your Christianity, and will reignite a passion for righteous living, not sinfulness, and definitely not anywhere in between!

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for your faithful ministry to us through your prayers and financial support!  We thank God for partnering us together for the purpose of telling others about the life-changing Gospel message of Jesus Christ!  Can you believe that we are less than 1 month away from moving to Argentina?  As you can imagine, this is and will be a very difficult, yet exciting transition process.  We would appreciate your prayers for our family for the following requests:

Please pray for…

1.     Our Paperwork Process:  as soon as we arrive to Argentina, we will have 90 days (maximum on our passport) to get several important documents translated and approved by Argentina government officials.  Please pray for a smooth process so that our family would be able to obtain permanent residency status in the future.

2.     Our Family Adjustments:  leaving the USA and our family and friends will no doubt be an emotional struggle for us, but it will be just as difficult to adjust to living in a new language and culture.  Please keep all our family in prayer as we all acclimate ourselves to a new lifestyle, both physically and emotionally.

3.     Our Health and Safety:  upon leaving for Argentina on April 24th, we will be flying (over 12 hours flight time) and driving (3 hours) to our destination in the city of Chivilcoy.  Please pray for travel safety, for good health, and for patience and wisdom in caring for Eliana.

Praise God for…

1.     His Ongoing Provision:  although we have already reached the 100% support mark, God continues to provide through the generosity of other people and churches.  We thank God for meeting both our current monetary needs and some of our future needs as well!

2.     His Church Body:  it is an incredible blessing to have received SO much love, encouragement, and support from God’s people!  We not only thank all of you who fit that category, but we praise God for His promised care to us through your lives.

3.     His Word:  you know, in the midst of the chaotic changes that have happened in our family the past few months, one thing has been constant to guide us through all of it…God’s Word!  We praise God for giving us the Bible, which is unchanging and sufficient for all of life’s situations.

During the month of February (which for some reason is Allison’s favorite month!!), we received confirmation that Eliana has a bad case of acid reflux, which not only meant she needed extra supervision and treatments, but it also has demanded much of our attention and focus.  Although it hasn’t been the smoothest of situations, we are thankful that she has shown much improvement and is doing a lot better now.  In the middle of still trying to figure out this whole ‘parenting’ thing, God has continued to open doors for us.  Remember the whole story about Eliana’s birth and how we missed sharing about Argentina with the High Point 2nd grade class?  Well, after another cancellation due to snow, we finally were able to meet the class and enjoyed discussing about Argentina and our missionary work with them.  It was such a blessing to see these young kids eager to listen to what God is doing around the world, and of course, the food and cultural practices were a highlight, too.  We praise God that by the end of the month, we had successfully received government approval of all our major legal documents, which will allow us to be fully prepared for the next process once we arrive in Argentina!

The month of March was quite a busy month, as we enjoyed taking part in a week-long missions conference at Calvary Monument Bible Church in Paradise, PA.  We loved being involved in the conference, not only as one of nine featured missionary families, but also in learning from excellent teaching and engaging in sweet fellowship all week long.  The church’s lead pastor, Pastor Bryan Sanders, has made a large impact on Dathan’s life as a former youth pastor at High Point, so it was great to reconnect with him and his family, and to see God’s work through the various ministries of their church!  A week later, we were invited to report a ministry update at one of our supporting local churches (Twin Valley Bible Chapel).  Located about 10 miles from where we live, this church has been our ‘extended’ family ever since we began our deputation ministry, and they have poured out their love and encouragement to us each time we see them.

Just this past weekend, we wrapped up the month of March in style with our Commissioning Service at High Point Baptist Chapel.  Although this service was a very emotional one for our families, it was a special opportunity to not only thank our home and sending church for their love, prayers, and support, but to also declare all that God has done throughout our 2 ½ year deputation ministry and to look ahead to what He will do in our lives in Argentina!  We were also delighted and wonderfully surprised this past weekend, as Dathan’s brother (Jordan) popped in from Iowa to celebrate this occasion with us.  After such a special weekend, we have returned to our long, arduous schedule of packing, organizing, parenting, packing, organizing, and some packed (un)organized parenting! 

It is incredible and surreal to think that we will be living in Argentina within one month from now, yet despite the nervousness and sadness we have in making this big transition, we are completely confident that this is God’s will and purpose for our lives and that He will enable and empower us through it all!  So, to all of you who are reading this right now, you can look forward to receiving our first ever ‘international’ newsletter next time we write in May.  Until then, may we all aim to live each day with a Godly purpose and to pray for one another.  God bless!

In Christ,

Dathan, Allison, and Eliana Marshall

CMBC Missions Conference with Awana kids

First Missions Conference for Eliana!

Family Photo with Allison's family (Dilworths)

Eliana 2-month old pictures

Surprise visit from Jordan (Dathan's brother) for Commissioning Service

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Marshalls January 2017 Newsletter

Marshalls January 2017 Newsletter

Psalm 1

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree, planted by the rivers of water,
    That brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

In order for us to dwell with God, we must be compatible with His nature.  Through an entire life of righteous living, Jesus Christ maintained a close companionship with God, His Father.  God was Jesus’ dwelling place, a home where He remained and spent much time.  We know from the Bible that there is a ‘home’ (heaven) available for those who confess their sins to God and believe in His Son, Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:1).  And although we eagerly await this eternal resting place with God, the Bible tells us that we “are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells” in us (1 Corinthians 3:16).  While you and I are still living on this earth, and have not yet reached our final destination in heaven, God has made His home in your heart and in mine.  So, the challenge for us is this… since His home is in our hearts, do we spend time getting to know Him and to talk with Him?  Also, are we living in such a way that we are compatible with God and His righteous character?  Someone once wisely stated, “Righteousness is a status achieved through divine intervention and human obedience.”  Let us all be living definitions of righteousness and dwell with God each day!

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy New Year to you and your families!  It is amazing to look back and see all that God has done this past year, not only in our own personal lives and ministry, but also in changing lives around the world for His own glory.  We cannot thank you enough for your crucial part in assisting us through your prayers and support!  Each one of you is a blessing to us, and we thank God for working through you to help meet our needs.

In early December, we were both asked to sing as part of a group in a Christmas drama at our home church in PA.  It was an exciting and powerful drama, which featured the birth of Jesus Christ from the different viewpoints of various characters in Bethlehem.  Most of the month of December was spent being close to home and attending our home church, which allowed for much-needed family time and re-connecting with our friends from church.  We praise God for His work that was accomplished in 2016, which makes us very thankful to be His servants and gives us much excitement and anticipation for this new year.

On January 5th, we were invited to come and share about our missionary adventure with the 2nd grade class at High Point Baptist Academy.  We were so excited that we both ended up waking early at 5am, packed all of our ‘essential’ items, drove really fast on the roads, and as soon as we had parked, we ran in!  Let’s just say that the room was not what we had expected to see that morning, but it had to suffice.  Well, finally, after staring at the clock and waiting a long time, our excitement and anticipation could not wait any longer.  At 3:36pm, our baby daughter Eliana June Marshall was joyfully welcomed into the world!  Our precious baby girl was 7lbs 3.5oz and 21 inches long.  Eliana is such a joy and blessing to our hearts, and we praise God for her good health and safe delivery.  And yes, she was born at a hospital (Phoenixville, PA) and no, we did not go to school and share with the 2nd grade class that day.

As you can imagine, we have been playing ‘Mommy’ and ‘Daddy’ ever since, adjusting to parenthood and the responsibilities of caring for Eliana.  During our transition to parenthood, we have also continued completing several steps in our paperwork process, one of them being getting a passport for Eliana.  For her passport application appointment, one thing that we didn’t realize was that Eliana had to have her eyes open for the passport photo, which turned out to be a much more difficult process than we had thought.  We had done everything we could to get her to be calm and sleep, but then quickly tried everything to wake her back up…which took lots of effort and patience.  As you can probably tell, our lives and ministry have been greatly affected by our beautiful baby daughter.  ‘Eliana’, which has a Hebrew definition of ‘my God has answered’, truly is an answer to prayer.  When we hold her in our arms, we see an astonishing miracle that God created and breathed life into.  We thank you for your prayers for Allison during her pregnancy, and for Eliana and her health.
We have listed several praises to God from these past couple of months, as well as new prayer requests for the upcoming months.  Your prayers would be greatly appreciated!

Praises and Prayer Requests:

Praise God for…
  • His Provision:  we praise God that He has provided ALL of our monthly support!  Yes, you read that correctly…100% supported!  Jehovah Jireh deserves our praise and He deserves all the glory for what He has provided!
  • His Blessings:  we praise God for the birth of our daughter, Eliana June Marshall, on January 5, 2017.  She is a beautiful miracle and a precious gift from God to us.
  • His People:  we praise God for all of our friends and family.  It has been really special for us these past two months to spend more time with our immediate family members, especially considering our upcoming departure for Argentina (in April).

Please pray for…
  • Our Paperwork:  please pray specifically for our family’s paperwork (customs and residency papers) to be approved, for a smooth transition to international health insurance, and for wisdom as we buy plane tickets and begin the packing process.
  • Our Family:  please continue praying for our family’s health and safety as we make these final preparations and adjustments to moving to Argentina.  Also, please pray for Allison’s dad and his health, as he is recovering from a recent heart catheterization. 
  • Our Ministry:  please pray for our church presentations and ministry opportunities in these next couple of months.  Our passion is to keep ministering to people and finish our deputation ministry strong for God’s glory.

Thank you again for your committed prayers and support!  Although we wish to thank each one of you personally, we are so grateful for the love and care that many of you have given us along our deputation journey!  We hope that this newsletter would both inspire you and encourage you in your own adventure of a faith-led, righteous life.  May God bless you and your family in this 2017 year!
In Christ,
Dathan and Allison Marshall

Singing Group for 2016 Christmas Drama

Eliana June Marshall (born January 5, 2017)

Our new family photo!